Gas-liquid interface of a Lennard-Jones binary mixture controlled by differential activity: phase transition and interfacial stability

M Elismaili and D Gonzalez-Rodriguez and H Xu, EUROPEAN PHYSICAL JOURNAL E, 45, 86 (2022).

DOI: 10.1140/epje/s10189-022-00241-y

We perform molecular dynamics simulations of a two-dimensional binary mixture of Lennard-Jones particles, characterized by some degree of "activity" inside. Starting from a base state that features a gas-liquid interface and a completely segregated system at thermodynamic equilibrium, we introduce differential scalar activity between the two species by prescribing two different effective temperatures. The differential activity is measured as the ratio of the two temperatures. Previous studies showed segregation in a homogeneously mixed system induced by high activity. In this study, we investigate the effect of activity on a pre-existing gas-liquid interface between two separated species. Whereas a high activity ratio induces the formation of new interfaces, we show that a low activity ratio destabilizes existing ones. Moreover, the combination of a pre-existent interface with differential activity leads to partial crystallization and thus to triple phase coexistence (solid, liquid and gas), which is observed over a wide range of moderate differential activities. Findings from this idealized system can guide our understanding of interfacial behaviors in certain biological systems.

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